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Early American Cinema in Transition
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The period 1907–1913 marks a crucial transitional moment in American cinema. As moving picture shows changed from mere novelty to an increasingly popular entertainment, fledgling studios responded with longer running times and more complex storytelling. A growing trade press and changing production procedures also influenced filmmaking. In Early American Cinema in Transition, Charlie Keil looks at a broad cross-section of fiction films to examine the formal changes in cinema of this period and the ways that filmmakers developed narrative techniques to suit the fifteen-minute, one-reel format.
    Keil outlines the kinds of narratives that proved most suitable for a single reel’s duration, the particular demands that time and space exerted on this early form of film narration, and the ways filmmakers employed the unique features of a primarily visual medium to craft stories that would appeal to an audience numbering in the millions. He underscores his analysis with a detailed look at six films: The Boy Detective; The Forgotten Watch; Rose O’Salem-Town; Cupid’s Monkey Wrench; Belle Boyd, A Confederate Spy; and Suspense.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
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  1. Tables
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. 1. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-19
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  1. 2. “Boom Time in the Moving-Picture Business” : Industrial Structure, Production Practices, and the Trade Press
  2. pp. 20-44
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  1. 3. “A Story Vital and Unified in Its Action” : The Demands of Narrative
  2. pp. 45-82
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  1. 4. “An Immeasurably Greater Freedom” : Time and Space in Transitional Cinema
  2. pp. 83-124
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  1. 5. “The Modern Technique of the Art” : The Style of Transitional Cinema
  2. pp. 125-174
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  1. 6. Analyzing Transition: Six Sample Films
  2. pp. 175-204
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  1. 7. Conclusion
  2. pp. 205-216
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  1. Appendix A: Notes on Method
  2. pp. 217-219
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  1. Appendix B: Shot-by-Shot Analyses for Chapter 6
  2. pp. 220-235
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 236-269
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  1. Filmography: Viewed Titles, 1907–1913
  2. pp. 270-286
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 287-295
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  1. Film Index
  2. pp. 296-300
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  1. General Index
  2. pp. 301-306
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